10 must-haves to maximize space in small apartment

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Small apartment living often requires you to get very creative with your space and the storage solutions you use. I’ve been in my current apartment now for just over a year and I’m constantly looking for ways to maximize space without adding visual clutter.

I found myself looking for products that are either multifunctional, small, nestable, foldable or collapsible. As I was recently looking for a folding stool, I decided to roundup some of the items I have or previously owned that are great for apartment living and small spaces in particular. 

So if you’ve ever asked the question “How can I save space in my small apartment?“, this one’s for you!

(The post contains some affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases. Read full disclosure here.)

10 Small Apartment Essentials

1. Bookcase or Open Shelving Unit

Shelving units, etageres or bookcases are another great way to add storage while using vertical space, which is key in a small space. Be sure to measure your space and the intended item to be sure it will fit where you want it. I currently have shelving units in my living room area and in the kitchen.

This bookshelf is a great pick if you want to maximise storage along an entire wall. 

I found this bookcase interesting as it’s foldable as well. A gold etagere like this immediately adds a touch of lux with lots of functional storage. 

Note: For my apartment, I wanted products that don’t need to be wall-mounted since at the moment I can’t put any holes in the walls without permission.

2. Nest of tables


Also known as nesting tables, these are great since they can be used individually, as a coffee table or side tables, and can be easily adjusted – spread out or nested – in your living area based on the amount of space available. 

This set of 2 nesting tables is a bestseller on Amazon and this set of 3 tables is also a great find. 

3. Collapsible basket 

I have a collapsible laundry basket like this and it’s been so handy when doing my laundry. Mine is the 30L size so it holds a good load of laundry and then I can collapse it to fit neatly in a little nook when it’s not in use. 

4. Clothing Rack with Storage 

Need a closet solution in a case where there aren’t any built in closets? A clothing rack like this with added space for storing other items is a great solution. If you already have a clothes rack but without a lower storage shelf, you can add a bench below. In the photo above, I paired the Ikea Mulig clothing rack with the Ikea Lack TV Bench to create a quick, open small closet. 

5. Foldable laundry bag 

I’ve also had this foldable canvas laundry bag for several years and it’s been great in my current space as well. Since I never have an empty bag, I love that it sits right behind my door next to the coat stand and is therefore out of sight.

6. Coat Stand

Adding the coat stand pictured above to my bedroom was a game changer, especially during winter when I had tons of layers. Instead of items being tossed on a chair, I was able to keep my items organised and therefore easily reachable – socks, stockings/leggings on the lowest bar, scarves on the middle hooks, and my fleece robe plus outfit for next day on the top hooks. The top also rotates and the marble base keeps the entire rack super sturdy. When I’ve had guests, I simply move the stand to the entryway.

You can check it out here on Amazon.

7. Shoe cabinet

Speaking of entryways, shoe cabinets offer a great solution when there’s no entryway in your apartment. For my space, I got this idea from a friend who used the same setup – I added two Ikea Bissa shoe cabinets to a blank space near the entrance. The slim profile means it doesn’t take up a lot of space and the 2 fit perfectly against the wall between 2 rooms. I use them to store shopping bags, hats, gloves and umbrellas, and of course, shoes. The area on top is the perfect place to add a decorative touch like I did! 

Note: if you have kids or pets, you should secure them to the wall for added safety.

The one is a bestseller on Amazon and is available in several different finishes. This one is another great option, especially with the additional shelf for storage. 

8. Step ladder or folding stool

Looking for a folding stool or step ladder like this one is what prompted this post. I got one like this for the time being and it’s quite handy as well. In small spaces, using as much vertical space as possible is key, and a step ladder helps to ensure that items in hard to reach places remain easily accessible.

9. Kitchen Trolley or Tiered Utility Cart

Another super useful item to have is a kitchen trolley or tiered rolling cart. In my previous apartment, I used this kitchen trolley (from Argos) to add additional counter space and much-needed storage to my small kitchen and I continued to use it even when I moved back into our family home. Here’s a similar trolley which provides even better storage since it’s closed and therefore prevents additional visual clutter. This small rolling kitchen island is a bestseller on Amazon and this one, which I actually find a bit too small, is currently Amazon’s choice.  

Similar to the kitchen trolley, tiered rolling carts are great for small spaces as they can be used in almost every area in your home. This rolling cart is a top seller on Amazon. I also owned this cart (pictured above) for a few years. 

10. Clear Storage Bins 

Large, clear storage bins like these are great for under your large or fixed furniture such as under the bed, vanity sink, cupboard. I have a few around my apartment. The one pictured comes in super handy for additional toiletries and cosmetics, and it fits perfectly under the vanity sink so it’s not visible. WIN-WIN.

If you’re looking for additional space-saving solutions, check out these posts:

7 Favourite Closet Organisation Hacks for a Small Closet

5 Bedroom Storage Ideas to Maximise Space

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